First use of an untethered, vented electric left ventricular assist device for long-term support.
This report describes the first long-term (505-day) application of the vented electric (VE) HeartMate left ventricular assist device (LVAD) (Thermo Cardiosystems, Inc). The device consists of an abdominally placed, battery-powered titanium blood pump that, in contrast to earlier pneumatically powered systems, allows patients untethered freedom of movement. The batteries last 5 to 8 hours and can be changed on a rotating basis indefinitely. The patient, a 33-year-old man (90 kg, blood type O) with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, experienced end-organ heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] class IV) while he was awaiting heart transplantation. When his hemodynamic criteria met those outlined in the protocol, we implanted the VE-LVAD as a bridge to transplantation. The patient was supported by the device for more than 16 months. His cardiac status returned to NYHA class I, and he was eventually allowed to take day trips outside the hospital as he awaited transplantation. The VE-LVAD enabled the patient to participate in activities such as eating in restaurants, going to movies, and practicing basketball shots. Unfortunately, the patient died suddenly due to a neurological thromboembolic event that occurred on day 503 of VE-LVAD support. The VE-LVAD improved native left ventricular function by chronic unloading, and ventricular remodeling resulted in a more normal configuration anatomically, physiologically, and ultimately, histologically and pathologically.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association